Joshua Tree, CA – April 5, 2023 – Bhakti Fest, Southern California’s popular yoga and spiritual music festival, is excited to announce a new headliner for their 2023 edition – socially conscious music legend Michael Franti will appear in a rare solo performance at the event at the beautiful Joshua Lake & Campground over the weekend of September 15-17.
Franti has been a regular performer at transformational festivals in his native California and beyond since forming his band Michael Franti & Spearhead in 1994. He is the creator and lead vocalist of his current independent project, Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip-hop with various other styles, including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. He is also an outspoken supporter of a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues.
One of the rare artists to use the powerful medium of music to explore social and political issues, Michael Franti has proved to be a musician with a moral conscience. This gifted spoken word artist, composer, poet, and political activist began his musical career with the industrial punk/spoken word band, The Beatnigs. He later formed the American industrial hip-hop band, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, a fiery group whose music explored political themes. Seeking further improvement and innovation, Franti founded Spearhead. He pushed boundaries with his music and became pivotal in hip-hop’s renaissance, drawing from soul-driven beats and funk rhythms. With Spearhead, he also explored new ideas and set on to a more provocative tone and style. Their debut album, Home, received critical acclaim. Widely regarded as a master of contemporary protest music, Franti is an innovative songwriter whose skillful songwriting abilities successfully blend rock, hip hop, punk, rock, and jazz.
Throughout his multi-decade career with Spearhead, Franti has earned threeBillboard No. 1’s with triumphantly hopeful hits “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You,” as well as six Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA Singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums. Spearhead’s 12th studio album Follow Your Heart, released in June 2022 and debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes Pop Chart behind Harry Styles.
Franti resides in Bali when he is not on tour and owns Soulshine Bali, a 32-room top-rated boutique hotel located in Ubud, Bali that focuses on joy through wellness and music, offering unique retreat opportunities and accommodations, along with special events and celebrations. Soulshine Bali continues to expand and grow with recent renovations, including a second restaurant, day club, panoramic yoga shala, and a new spa. For more information, visit soulshinebali.com.
In January 2019, Franti released his self-directed documentary Stay Human, which won an array of awards at film festivals worldwide and influenced his writing for his album Stay Human Vol II (Thirty Tigers), which debuted at No. 1 on both the Americana and Independent Album charts and received critical acclaim from USA Today, Billboard, Associated Press, and Paste.
Bhakti Fest is a pioneering gathering known for non-stop yoga, kirtan and other spiritual and conscious music, meditation, sound healing, vegetarian cuisine, therapeutic bodywork, spiritual study, conscious community, and transformation that continues to serve as a beacon for spiritual seekers from around the world. After a COVID-driven break since 2019, the festival is excited to welcome its fans home.
Festival producer Bella Silberfein notes, “having Michael Franti appear at a Bhakti Fest event has been a goal of ours since we started in 2009. We are so thrilled he’s headlining our first festival post-COVID and are looking forward to integrating his vibe and fans into our festival.”
The festival returns with all-star yoga instructors, including Yogrishi Vishvketu, Shiva Rea, Kia Miller, Andrew Sealy, Carmen Curtis, Tejal Patel, Tommy Rosen, Govind Das & Jacqueline, Harpinder Kaur Mann, Michael Brian Baker, MC Yogi, Amanda Giacomini, and local favorite, Urban Yoga’s Kristin Olson. From those who have never stepped foot on a yoga mat to those who don’t travel without one, all student levels are welcome and encouraged to attend.
A curator of sacred sound, Bhakti Fest will host non-stop Kirtan and chant, along with other conscious music, across various musical genres, including blues, rock, pop, gospel, traditional, and hip-hop. In addition to Franti, headliners include Grammy nominees Pato Banton, Krishna Das, and MC YOGI. This year’s musicians also include favorites such as Desert Dwellers, Snow Raven, Sol Rising, Kirtaniyas, Satsang, DJ Drez & Marti Nikko, David Starfire, Raghunath, Hanuman Project, Nina Rao, Radhika Das, Gina Sala, Karnamrita, and many more.
Bhakti Fest provides participants the unique opportunity to interact and learn from some of the greatest luminaries of our time. Speakers include Radhanath Swami, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Jai Devi Singh, Nidhi Pandya, Indy Rishi, Scott Blossom, Reginald Hubbard, Zoe Kors, and Tejal Patel. As always, Bhakti Fest will screen digital Satsang with the legendary, dearly departed Ram Dass, whose book Be Here Now helped bring Eastern philosophy west in the 1970s.
No family festival is complete without a Kids’ Village! In the cool shade, fun, physical, creative, musical, and conscious activities provide an opportunity for parents and children to enjoy time together.
Bhaktis will feast on various raw, vegan, and vegetarian food and beverage options. There is an extensive marketplace with eco-friendly, sustainable vendors offering clothing, devotional art, musical instruments, CDs, crafts, jewelry, and more.
Accommodations onsite include glamping, camping, and RV parking. There are also several hotels within a few miles of the campground that offer discounts for attendees.
With a world-class lineup of musicians and yoga instructors, conscious workshops, and artisan vendors, Bhakti Fest offers the most heart-opening, consciousness -raising experience of any festival on the scene today. Attendees describe the festival as “immersed in the greatest conscious party you have ever experienced, filled with music, yoga, dancing, love, light, and heart-centered community.”
Tickets for Bhakti Fest 2023 are available here. The non-profit festival donates a percentage of its funds to charities and other nonprofit groups that provide food, education, and environmental beautification programs worldwide. These include Food for Life Vrindavan, Love Serve Remember Foundation, Ramana’s Garden, Share Your Care, and the Seva Foundation.